How to Write a Bibliography For a Science Fair Project

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It is important that you keep track of all the sources you use in your research to include in a bibliography. Credit: Cultura Exclusive/DUEL/Getty Images

How to Write a Bibliography For a Science Fair Project

When conducting a science fair project, it is important that you keep track of all the sources you use in your research. This includes books, magazines, journals, and Web sites. You will need to list these source materials in a bibliography. Bibliographic information is typically written in either Modern Language Association (MLA) or American Psychological Association (APA) format. Be sure to check with your science project instruction sheet in order to find out which method is required by your instructor. Use the format advised by your instructor.

Key Takeaways

  • Keeping track of the sources used for your research is very important when completing a science fair project bibliography.
  • The Modern Language Association (MLA) format is one common format used for bibliographies for science fair projects.
  • The American Psychological Association (APA) format is a second common format used for science fair project bibliographies.
  • Both the MLA format as well as the APA format have specified formats to use for resources like books, magazines, and websites.
  • Always make sure to use the correct format, whether MLA or APA, specified in the instructions that you receive for completing your science fair project.

Here's How:

MLA: Book

  1. Write the author's last name, first name and middle name or initial. End with a period.
  2. Write the title of the book in italics followed by a period.
  3. Write the place where your book was published (city) followed by a comma. The city of publication is only used when the book is published before 1900, if the publisher has offices in multiple countries or is otherwise unknown in North America.
  4. Write the publisher name followed by a comma.
  5. Write the publication date (year) followed by a period.

MLA: Magazine

  1. Write the author's last name, first name followed by a period.
  2. Write the title of the article in quotation marks. End the title with a period inside the quotation marks.
  3. Write the title of the magazine in italics followed by a comma.
  4. Write the publication date (abbreviating the month) followed by a comma and the page numbers preceded by pp. and followed by a period.

MLA: Website

  1. Write the author's last name, first name followed by a period.
  2. Write the name of the article or page title in quotation marks. End the title with a period inside the quotation marks.
  3. Write the title of the website in italics followed by a comma.
  4. If the name of the publisher differs from the name of the website, write the name of the sponsoring institution or publisher (if any) followed by a comma.
  5. Write the date published followed by a comma.
  6. Write the URL (website address) followed by a period.

MLA Examples:

  1. Here is an example for a book -- Smith, John B. Science Fair Fun. Sterling Publishing Company, 1990.
  2. Here is an example for a magazine -- Carter, M. "The Magnificent Ant." Nature, 4 Feb. 2014, pp. 10-40.
  3. Here is an example for a Web site -- Bailey, Regina. "How to Write a Bibliography For a Science Fair Project." ThoughtCo, 8 Jun. 2019, www.thoughtco.com/write-bibliography-for-science-fair-project-4056999.
  4. Here is an example for a conversation -- Martin, Clara. Telephone conversation. 12 Jan. 2016.

APA: Book

  1. Write the author's last name, first initial.
  2. Write the year of publication in parenthesis.
  3. Write the title of the book or source.
  4. Write the place where your source was published (city, state) followed by a colon.

APA: Magazine

  1. Write the author's last name, first initial.
  2. Write the year of publication, month of publication in parenthesis.
  3. Write the title of the article.
  4. Write the title of the magazine in italics, volume, issue in parenthesis, and page numbers.

APA: Web site

  1. Write the author's last name, first initial.
  2. Write the year, month, and day of publication in parenthesis.
  3. Write the title of the article.
  4. Write Retrieved from followed by the URL.

APA Examples:

  1. Here is an example for a book -- Smith, J. (1990). Experiment Time. New York, NY: Sterling Pub. Company.
  2. Here is an example for a magazine -- Adams, F. (2012, May). House of the carnivorous plants. Time, 123(12), 23-34.
  3. Here is an example for a Web site -- Bailey, R. (2019, June 8). How to Write a Bibliography For a Science Fair Project. Retrieved from www.thoughtco.com/write-bibliography-for-science-fair-project-4056999.
  4. Here is an example for a conversation -- Martin, C. (2016, January 12). Personal Conversation.

The bibliography formats used in this listing are based on the MLA 8th Edition and APA 6th Edition.

Science Fair Projects

For additional information about science fair projects, see:

Sources

  • Purdue Writing Lab. "APA Formatting and Style Guide." Purdue Writing Lab, owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html. 
  • Purdue Writing Lab. "MLA Formatting and Style Guide." Purdue Writing Lab, owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_and_style_guide.html.